Examining the Pomodoro Study Technique – is it effective?

We all have days where our minds run free. Sure, some daydreaming is good but it happens to be more frequent when we have work to do. Research has found that the attention span of children has become significantly shorter. The brain associates smartphone usage with dopamine production. Essentially, the brain derives more pleasure from phone usage than doing work. Switching to work after using your phone turns off the brain’s dopamine switch. Thus, this may be why your child may display reluctant signs to do work when seated at the study table. This is where the Pomodoro Study technique comes in.

What is the Pomodoro Study Technique?

Developed in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, this technique takes advantage of your child’s short attention span. It introduces a short intensive duration of studying, followed by a 5 minute reprieve. During the break, children can rest in a myriad of ways. They can stretch, rest their eyes or take a short walk. Once the 5 minutes is up, another 25-minute study session begins. This goes on for another 3 sessions. After the 4th pomodoro session, a well-deserved 15-30 minutes break follows.  

Examining the study technique – is it effective?

This study technique has been flouted in many magazines and articles, to the point one cannot help but wonder if the technique is truly effective. A study involving 50 children with attention span problems discovered a huge difference in the duration they could focus when they adopted the technique. The technique also requires your child to break down a big to-do into smaller tasks. This makes the to-do less overwhelming to complete.  It is important to note that the study duration can thus vary depending on the work to be done. Each task should be completed during the pomodoro session.  The underlying principles still remain – a short intensive study session followed by a break.

Is this study technique suitable for my child?

If your child struggles with motivation and time management, this study technique is definitely worth considering. To start small, parents can set each study session to a shorter 10-15 minutes. This mitigates your child’s reluctance as it lowers their expectations for a dreaded study session. At the same time, it creates urgency and encourages your child to stay focused on their work. Subsequently, parents can increase the duration once their child is able to stay focused longer. Parents should also dissuade their child from using their devices during this break. 

Even at Conceptual Thinkers tuition centre in Jurong West, we adopt the Pomodoro technique in our classroom settings by introducing short breaks between Maths concepts. The break allows our students to review the materials again and clarify doubts if needed.

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